by DOUG NADVORNICK & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & aylor Bressler is working on a big landscaping project. The planning/project manager for the Spokane city Parks Department is deciding how to reshape the area around the old Boeing Amphitheater in the northeast corner of Riverfront Park, an entertainment area during Expo '74, but used mostly to shoot off fireworks since then.
"There were a couple of summers of activity here after the fair, but the venue never caught on," says Bressler.
He wants to make the space useful, visible and safe again. He plans to lower the grassy berms around the amphitheater and to cut or trim the overgrown trees that keep the area hidden from the rest of the park.
"Right after Expo we planted vegetation to make this look like a park right away," says Bressler. "Now, after 30 years of maturation, it's time for us pay attention here again."
The remodel began informally last summer when crews felled a few trees behind the amphitheater stage, opening a clear view of the Spokane River upstream. Now Bressler has his eye on removing some of the other trees planted for -- or after -- the exposition. Four trees were recently pulled out; others will be planted in different places. Crews will remove the old light poles that stand near the concrete stage and several stone hexagon-shaped seating areas.
"We don't know what we're going to find under all this stuff," says Bressler, noting that previous excavation projects at the park have unearthed remnants of the old railyard that occupied the space before Expo '74. "There's probably 12 to 15 feet of fill dirt underneath us."
Bressler says rejuvenating the amphitheater is one of the Park Board's highest priorities. The goal is to make it a place for parties or other entertainment. He says new, permanent bathrooms will be built, as well as a kitchen with water and electricity.
The landscaping work will be done this summer and fall, paid for with $150,000 of park bond money. The final design and construction of the site will be done next year at a cost of about $300,000.